This day has been filled with celebration of my dad.
Memories have flooded my mind, not the big happenings in life, but the small things that make up life. It’s impossible to remember him without thinking of the many gifts he gave me—no, not touchable gifts, but the intangible ones of love and security and a solid foundation to build my life on.
He taught me small things like reading a map. Dad handed me a map once when we were on a car trip, he showed me where we were and where we were going. Then he said the next time we came to an intersection I had to tell him which way to turn, pretty heady power for a ten-year old little girl. We got lost a few times but we got there. I can still read maps and find my way most anywhere.
Now my dad could not sing a note on tune, but that never stopped him.
And when he sang You Are My Sunshine to me, I thought it was absolutely perfect. Sunshine was what my dad always called me, not because of my attitude but because of my white hair, and it always made me smile. Another gift my dad gave to me was the constant assurance I could be anything I wanted to be, it didn’t matter whether I was a girl or boy, a very progressive way of thinking back in the 1930s and 40s. He always told me “If someone can do it, you can do it too, you just have to try and keep trying.”
There’s only one tangible gift I remember, daddy gave me a dictionary on my tenth birthday. I read it like a book from A to Z, and I fell in love with words. It’s the small moments, the little ones that seem insignificant at the time that can sometimes loom powerfully in our minds. This little dictionary stood on my desk all my life until my recent move and now I can’t find it. I am assuming it’s still in an unpacked box — but if it got lost, please don’t tell me!
On this Father’s Day, I’m also thinking about when my daughters were little and life was just opening its arms to them. So often during their growing-up years, I wanted to turn the clock back to the time when their dad was still with us, he died way too soon at forty-two years old.
So many things make up a father—it’s the little things he does that turn him into a real daddy.
I remember him giving our first-born daughter a bottle while I cooked supper and, of course, he was singing to her. As toddlers, Scarlet Ribbons became a favorite song because one time he gave them scarlet ribbons for their hair. I’m not sure they remember, they were very young and he tried so hard to tie a pretty bow but he could never get it quite right. He’d look at me and wink saying Look how beautiful my girls are. After that whenever he’d start singing, they would run to find their ribbons which were usually at the bottom of a toy box or tied around the head of a doll.
I can never forget the love of my life hanging diapers on the line in freezing January weather.
I’m not sure a lot of dads today have ever seen a clothes line. And of course, my daughters can’t remember that, but it was his way of showing love for his family.
I remember grabbing my camera when he was trying to rock our second-born daughter to sleep … and sleep just wasn’t going to happen, she was not at all happy — and guess who crawled up in his lap and joined them …
Then there were the horseback rides with our daughters… as well as lots of bucking and hanging on accompanied by loud screams and laughter.
And building castles in the sand at the beach …
So many things make up a dad —the little things that make up our lives, brighten our days, and fill our lives with joy. It’s not the years, but the love that shines on. These are the things we remember deep in our souls.
And one last happy picture memory of two dads; my dad and my daughters’ dad, hiking around Lake Texoma…
I have more quiet moments now than I used to have when life was busy with a house full of family and excitement…moments when I smile and remember these very special snapshots of life.
So, my dear ones, family and friends, please take a moment and think about those special times in your life—and then share a memory or two with me. I’d love to hear from you.